If I could choose a few characteristics that make the Tales series so entertaining to play, it would definitely be a combination of the interesting characters, dynamic gameplay, and fun soundtrack. Tales of Berseria continues this trend by having an interesting plot about revenge paired with an assortment of deep Japanese role-playing game mechanics. Though the game at times can feel a bit stiff when roaming around the world of this 40+ hour experience, I was fully invested in the story about a group of characters that were just as bad as they were good. Anyone that appreciates the familiar, yet uniquely built worlds of the Tales series will get a lot of enjoyment spending time in Berseria.
Everything begins with a young girl named Velvet, who lives at home with her younger brother Laphecet. While life seems quiet and quaint at first, a traumatic event causes Velvet to experience a deep loss and sets her on a bitter path towards vengeance against a man named Artorius. All of this happens within the first few hours and sets up a story about revenge that takes Velvet all across the land of the Holy Midgand Empire.
Though its story is largely unrelated, Tales of Berseria actually has a few connections to a previous game, Tales of Zestria, which fans of the series might find interesting. Progressing the plot has you cross paths with an assortment of great characters, each with their own backstories that parallel Velvet’s path of vengeance. The brutish daemon Rokurou, the sorceress Magilou, and many others ooze their own flavor of personality that keeps you entertained and invested throughout this long and emotional journey.
The Tales games might have great stories that make the backbone of their experiences, but they are no stranger to great gameplay, and Tales of Berseria is no exception. You still have large areas to explore and many kinds of enemies to encounter, all of which have great designs. It does eventually get repetitive in a few areas with the enemies you fight over and over again, but never to a point that feels lazy or poorly designed. Everything about Berseria’s gameplay will be familiar to series veterans, though the game still offers to help you get refreshed on some of the more important aspects about the exploration and combat.
Fighting in Tales of Berseria follows suit with other games in the franchise, but adds in a few more layers to give the combat its own distinct nature. Every attack is linked to a character’s Soul Gauge, which expends soul points for every attack and Artes that you perform. When you have no soul points available, you can still attack but are more susceptible to being deflected by enemies.
Soul points recharge over time as you fight and can help unleash powerful Break Soul attacks when you have enough saved up. Though it sounds complicated at first, it’s actually simple in practice during a real battle. Things can get pretty hectic during some of the game’s tougher boss battles, but a keen eye and clever strategy can help use the Soul Gauge to your advantage.
My favorite part of Tales of Berseria is the soundtrack. Right from the opening scene when you boot up the game, the music that plays to the fast paced anime inspired visuals sounds phenomenal. No matter where you are in the game, there’s always a great background tune that plays to the tone of what is happening.
Whether you’re carefully exploring a town in hopes of not being exposed, frantically searching for a way to escape a prison, or engaged in a battle with a group of minions, Tales of Berseria has some great music to go with it. It might come off as a bit too much anime or Japanese pop for some musical tastes, but this has been a characteristic of the Tales games that continues to work very well with each new entry of the series.
If you have a lot time to spare and are craving a good Japanese role-playing game, then I can definitely recommend picking up Tales of Berseria. If you’re already a fan of the Tales franchise, you will enjoy playing through Berseria and may consider it one of the best in the long-running series. The story of these characters, the well-tuned combat, and some great music make this an awesome 40+ hour experience worth diving into.
This review was based on a digital review code for Tales of Berseria on the PlayStation 4, provided by Bandai Namco.